After some questionable decisions, World Rugby have come out criticising the standard of refereeing at the start of the tournament.

World Rugby Criticises Rugby World Cup Refereeing

“The match officials team recognise that performances were not consistently of the standards set by World Rugby and themselves.”

In an unprecedented move, the above is a statement made by World Rugby after the first few days of the tournament, criticising the standard of refereeing. It is hard to argue with them considering some of the decisions that have been made in the first few matches.

Chief among which is the incident pictured above between Australia and Fiji. In a collision between Reece Hodge and Peceli Yato, the Fijian was forced to leave the field and Hodge escaped punishment despite the questionable legality of the tackle. To add to the injustice, Hodge was then cited after the match and then banned for three matches which helps no one. Indeed two Samoans, Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u, have also been cited for hits against Russia last night.

The other controversial incident came between France and Argentina when Louis Picamoles made a crucial interception whilst being a long way offside. Somehow the referees missed it and Argentina lost narrowly which could have a huge impact on their chances at progression.

Given the Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport, it comes as no surprise that World Rugby are looking to improve the standard of refereeing, but the fact the criticism came in an official statement is illuminating.

The referees, touch judges and TMO’s met with World Rugby’s high performance manager for match officials, Alain Rolland and admitted they can do better;

“Following the usual review of matches, the match officials team recognise that performances over the opening weekend were not consistently of the standards set by World Rugby and themselves, but World Rugby is confident of the highest standards of officiating moving forward.

“Elite match officials are required to make decisions in complex, high-pressure situations and there have been initial challenges with the use of technology and team communication, which have impacted decision-making. These are already being addressed by the team of 23 match officials to enhance consistency. Given this proactive approach, a strong team ethic and a superb support structure, World Rugby has every confidence in the team to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2019 delivers the highest levels of accurate, clear and consistent decision-making.”

Let’s hope they heed their own words and the rest of the tournament is not blighted by any further refereeing controversies.

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